Reality check: What your business can expect from social media
Aren’t we lucky? We live in a world where businesses can get in front of their audiences with a click of a button (or two).
Well, actually that isn’t entirely true. If only it were as easy as that.
In this blog, we focus on the realities of running social media for your business. We’ll discuss social media myths and remove the rose tinted glasses for those that believe there is a magic one-size-fits-all solution to boost ROI.
We speak with countless social media cynics who have tried their hand at SMM and are unhappy with the results because they:
- Think social media is “easy”.
- Expect too much too quickly.
- Have not budgeted appropriately to get results.
- Do not have a plan or set any goals for their activities.
Any of these sound familiar?
Unfortunately, if any of the above apply, when reality sets in, which it will, you’ll end up with a disengaged feed, left to look after itself. And before you know it, no one is listening.
This is why it’s important to enter into the world of social media management for business with your eyes wide open.
1. SOCIAL MEDIA IS EASY
Yes, we still hear this. Often from people that:
- Aren’t measuring what they are doing
- Don’t see the value in it
- Aren’t on it themselves (even in a professional capacity)
- Have automated it to the point of it being pointless so they can tick a box to say that they do it.
Anyone that has managed social media account for a business knows that this is far from the truth.
While the act of putting an update out there is easy (although I have days where that process can frustrate the hell out of me), the strategy behind it, content creation, and analysis is not a job that just anyone can do.
Don’t get me wrong; this doesn’t mean just because you hire someone with social media marketing experience that there isn’t some aspect of trial and error. With the ever-changing algorithms, features and audience needs, whatever works today at 5pm does not mean that at 5pm every day or week there is going to be the same response. It isn’t uncommon that something that you thought would fly could have the same effect as throwing a chipolata down the Dartford tunnel. The difference in having an experienced person running things is that they know enough and change tact accordingly.
2. EXPECT TOO MUCH, TOO QUICKLY
This common misconception. The hope is that from that first update the flood gates of followers and engagement will happen (oh and don’t forget sales).
Sorry but that is probably not going to happen – unless you put together an awesome campaign to enable this. The first 3 – 6 months are the hardest. From content creation to learning what resonates with your audience through to engaging with your ideal community, it takes time. This hard work has to come from someone that knows the business and the social media strategy.
Our top tips to make these first months as pain-free as possible are:
- Start with one or two social media accounts and get those nailed rather than spreading yourself too thinly.
- Have a plan -content planning is to stay focused and prevents having a block or spamming your new found audience.
- Invest in some unique imagery/graphics to make your accounts stand out against the noise.
- Spend time on your profiles and brand up your accounts as much as possible to enable you to be found and make an excellent first impression.
- Have a budget for some paid advertising to get your account in front of the right people while you are building your organic presence. Be prepared to work even harder for those organic results.
- As for sales – it takes a lot more than a couple of tweets to generate interest. You need to try and reach your current customers and empower your employees to advocate your business to try and produce sales. Why? Because people will listen to them more than you. Think about it, if you sold kitchen cleaning products and talked about how amazing your product is until someone else says it – I won’t believe it.
Recommendations and advocacy are so important these days. Most businesses won’t get sales without getting others to say nice things about them.
22% of digital consumers have liked or followed a brand on a social network in the past month, and more than 4 in 10 use social networks to research new brands or products, making it the second-most important channel of all – Globelwebindex report
3. Haven’t set aside a budget
While access to social media is free, time and resources are not.
- So to get results, you need to invest time and money in all or some of the following;
- People – whatever you do, make sure your businesses social media is left in capable hands. While it is tempting to give it to the intern or the “digital native”, social media marketing requires a bit more than enthusiasm. Your business and brand reputation is in someone’s hands so at least invest in some training if you aren’t looking to hire an expert to carry out this activity or you.
- Assets – not every social media marketer has a design background, and decent stock images that haven’t already done the rounds are far and few between. Invest in some unique photography, so you have your own stock library to dip into, and ensure that you have a brand identity document that allows you to have graphics created that are just for you. While there are free design tools such as canva around, make sure that they can support your brand identity in terms of fonts and feel. We recommend having some templates designed professionally which then only require changing the words or image.
- Time – time is a finite resource which you need to give it. From the planning to execution, the community management to analysing what is working for you, it all takes time. What you don’t want to do is take your sales team off of their job to do social media for the business (although you do want them to be advocates – click here to read about that). You want someone to work with them to produce even better results.
4. Haven’t made a plan
Social media is such a powerful tool when it has a purpose.
Make sure that whoever is doing your social media is part of your overall marketing planning. Heck, I would recommend them sitting in on sales planning as well so that they understand the goals from all angles.
We mentioned earlier in the blog that having a plan also gives the social media and content team focus. It also makes their job a lot easier. Without planning and direction, the task at hand becomes hard. Really hard. A plan (albeit a flexible one) makes its the whole process smoother and natural. The team involved able to create ideas and work out what resources (words, images. photos. videos) they need to lay their hands on to make the idea work.
5. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS
TRUTH. There are no shortcuts when it comes to social media.
So while we would all like to blame the algorithms and the fact the networks are squeezing businesses out, that is not all your business can expect from social media – the reality is that if your content is good enough, you won’t have a problem building a loyal and engaged community that will advocate and buy from you.
To find out if your social media is working for you (or not) why not contact the team for an audit – who will go behind the scenes, look at what is happening and give you recommendations on how to improve.
July sees another Independent retailers month come around which was born to give voice to, well, independent retailers. Click to find out more.
Before we look at how to target affluent consumers on social media, we must define who they are. Click to read further on our blog.
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